The Twelve had just returned from going about the countryside preaching the Gospel. They were tired. Jesus, in His compassion, invites them to come away with Him to rest for a while. So, they get in a boat to cross over to a deserted place. But when the people hear about this, they hurry on foot to the place that their boat was heading. So, when the boat arrives, there is a crowd awaiting them.
Of course, Jesus does not get upset. He does not get discouraged by the burning desire of the people to be with Him and the Twelve. Instead, the Gospel relates that when Jesus saw them, “His heart was moved with pity,” and He began to teach them many things.
In our own lives, after serving others well, it’s understandable to desire rest. Even Jesus desired this for Himself and His Apostles. But the one thing that Jesus permitted to “interrupt” His rest was the clear desire of the people to be with Him and to be fed by His preaching. There is much to learn from this example of our Lord.
For example, there are many times when a parent may only want to be alone for a while, and yet family concerns arise that need their attention. Priests and religious may also have unexpected duties that arise from their ministry that can, at first, appear to interrupt their plans. The same can be said for any vocation or situation in life. We may think we need one thing, but then duty calls and we find we are needed in a different way.
One key to sharing in the apostolic mission of Christ, be it to our families, Church, communities or friends, is to be ready and willing to be generous with our time and energy. It’s true that prudence will dictate the need for rest at times, but at other times the call to charity will supersede what we perceive as a legitimate need for our own rest and relaxation. And when true charity is demanded of us, we will always find that our Lord gives us the needed grace to be generous with our time. It is often in those moments when our Lord chooses to use us in ways that are truly transforming for others.
Reflect, today, upon the true needs of those around you. Are there people who would greatly benefit from your time and attention today? Are there needs that others have that will require you to change your plans and to give of yourself in a way that is difficult? Do not hesitate to give generously of yourself to others. In fact, this form of charity is not only transforming for those whom we serve, it is often one of the most restful and rejuvenating activities we can also do for ourselves.